Salt & Malt, Chew Valley Lake: Review

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Salt & Malt exterior


Autumnal days like those we’ve been having are perfect for long walks: when the sun’s shining, the air’s fresh but not cold and there’s no rain, we try and get out to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible. That’s exactly what we did recently, when we found a 3 mile walking route around the Chew Valley, and decided to treat ourselves afterwards with a trip to Salt & Malt.

Josh Eggleton, the man behind Michelin-starred The Pony and Trap as well as Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, is part-owner of the lakeside tea rooms turned fish and chip café – a fitting venture for a chef whose first job was in a Bristol chippy. Since taking over, the opening hours have been extended, the dining experience has been enhanced, a family-friendly dining room has been created and the menu has been expanded.

Just a short walk from The Pony and Trap, Salt & Malt is clearly a popular place. Situated right by the Chew Valley Lake and already a popular spot, the sunny day of our visit saw both the inside and outside of the venue pretty much full.

Diners have the option of sitting down to eat on the premises, or ordering from a takeaway menu from a separate window outside the main restaurant. Inside, it’s a light and airy space: wooden tables and chairs, exposed wooden beams and huge floor to ceiling windows that offer beautiful views of the lake. Outside, it’s good to see plenty of wasp catchers dotted around the building too…


Salt & Malt interior


After finding a table, it’s a case of choosing from the menu before heading to the counter to order, remembering to give the table number noted on your blue flag. There’s no pretension here: just good quality food in a beautiful setting.

There are separate menus for breakfast/lunch and for dinner, as well as a takeaway menu for those who don’t fancy eating in. The lunch menu available when we visited was certainly extensive: a choice of sandwiches; hot dishes such as burgers, scampi, soup and ham, egg and chips; the aforementioned fish and chips; cream teas and also children’s options. It was good to see a huge number of menu options marked as gluten free – including the fish and chips, as well, even, as gluten free vinegar for the chips. The counter itself was laden with a variety of cakes, available at any time of day, while drinks-wise, you can choose from both hot and cold options – including alcoholic drinks too.

The reason for our visit was fish and chips: we weren’t going to be swayed by any of the other (tempting) options on the menu! We both opted for the line caught cod and chips, served with crushed peas (£8.95), along with a pot of chip shop curry sauce (£1) to share, after previously having tried it at Eat Drink Bristol Fashion.

The coffees that we ordered were lovely and strong, and served in Salt & Malt branded blue and white china – as was our food, when it arrived shortly afterwards. We weren’t disappointed. The fish itself was perfectly cooked: still lovely and juicy and flaking well under the fork. No bones, either! The batter was crispy and golden and the perfect thickness, while the peas were fantastic – a combination of crushed and whole peas, their vibrant green colour telling us in advance just how fresh their flavour would be. The chips themselves were among the best I’ve had this year, wonderfully crisp on the outside, fluffy in the middle – not the soggy chips you expect from your standard chippy. And the curry sauce? Just as good as we’d remembered from Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, thankfully, and eagerly mopped up with our chips.

One minor niggle would be the size of the slice of lemon that accompanied the fish – I personally felt that I could have done with double the amount…


Salt & Malt fish and chips


At £8.95, the cod and chips was a bit pricier than you’d pay at a regular chippy, but the quality was undeniable. If just shy of £10 seems too much, you can still enjoy Salt & Malt’s food – just get a takeaway fish supper for £6.95 and sit by the lake to enjoy it.

We had a great meal at Salt & Malt when we visited recently: the perfect end to a long walk in the countryside. Rumour has it that they’re opening in the city centre next year too – watch this space… Definitely recommended.



3 Responses to Salt & Malt, Chew Valley Lake: Review

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